Liberating Europe

In April 1945, as U.S. troops advanced through Germany, they came upon concentration camps—sites of crimes against humanity.

Liberation of the camps was not a military objective. The troops responded to the humanitarian crisis by providing food and medical care. Journalists and photographers alerted the world to the horror.

Survivors of Dachau greet U.S. troops, April 30, 1945.

Photograph Sydney Blau, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy National Archives, photo no. 18145

"We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human community."

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, speaking of the role of U.S. in the world, January 20, 1945

An American armored car passes the Arc de Triomphe during the liberation of Paris, August 1944.

Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 208-YE-68